Age Demands Action

Age discrimination and ageism are still commonplace across the world and urgent action is needed to stop it.

Age Demands Action is a grassroots movement of campaigners in 60 countries. Older people meet with decision-makers and lobby their local and national governments to push the issues most important to them, such as pensions and healthcare. 
Age Demands Action campaigners are busy all year round, but focus their efforts on three key dates:

7 April: Age Demands Action on Health

A younger activist joins up with older people for an ADA on Health march in Thailand (c) HelpAge International/FOPDEV

(c) HelpAge International/FOPDEV

A younger activist joins up with older people for an ADA on Health march in Thailand

On WHO's World Health Day (7 April) Age Demands Action activists around the world campaign for better health care. 

In 2016 they called for screening, testing, treatment and education on diabetes to be made available for all at the primary healthcare level.
The prevalence of diabetes in older age groups is high and increasing rapidly, but type 2 diabetes can be managed inexpensively with early diagnosis and treatment.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 80% of diabetes-related deaths occur in low and middle-income countries.
The total number of deaths caused by diabetes is predicted to rise by over 50% in the next 10 years.
This year 52 campaign partners mobilised around the world:
  • Liberia joined the campaign for the first time, and took part in "buddy walks" with younger people to encourage active ageing.
  • Campaigners in Kyrgyzstan took part in a flash mob to raise public awareness of staying active in older age. A delegation of older women also met the Minister of Health who promised to build on the national diabetes program.

You can read more about Kyrgyzstan’s World Health Day and a roundup of all our ADA on Health activities around the world

Our Diabetes in older people factsheet (477kb) includes recommendations on managing diabetes for policy makers and healthcare officials. 

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15 June: Age Demands Action on Rights

Older campaigner Kenneth Hemley making an intervention at the UN Open-ended Working Group (c) HelpAge International

(c) HelpAge International

Older campaigner Kenneth Hemley making an intervention at the UN Open-ended Working Group

On 15 June, UN's World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Age Demands Action campaigners come together to call for their rights to be protected.

Responses to the problem of elder abuse are inadequate. Less than one-third of governments worldwide have implemented any sort of strategy to combat this problem. There are no international human rights standards or conventions on freedom from violence and abuse in older age.

For this reason, Age Demands Action on Rights takes place every year on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15 June. It is a key date for older men and women to come together to raise awareness about elder abuse and to campaign on the need to protect their rights under international law. Together, they are calling for their governments to support a new UN convention on the rights of older people.

27 countries took part in 2016. Below are examples of what partners are doing to raise awareness about elder abuse:

  • Peru – our partner organised a poetry contest called Voices Against Violence.
  • The Philippines – campaigners gathered stories about elder abuse to share with their government.
  • Kyrgyzstan – campaigners took part in a flash mob and organised a theatre event.
  • Slovenia – our partner organised its annual Festival of the Third Age.
  • Kenya – older campaigners collected signatures for a petition calling for action to stop elder abuse in their country.

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1 October: Age Demands Action Global Day of Action

The women of Mwanza in Tanzania, older women are challenging ageism (c) Clemence Eliah/HelpAge International

(c) Clemence Eliah/HelpAge International

In Mwanza, Tanzania, older women are challenging ageism

Age Demands Action Global takes place every 1 October on International Day of Older Persons and the theme for 2016 is Take a Stand Against Ageism.

We are using this opportunity to highlight how ageism manifests itself across the world and leads to the discrimination, stereotyping and abuse of older people everywhere. 

"Stereotyping and discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age; ageism can take many forms, including prejudicial attitudes, discriminatory practices, or institutional policies and practices that perpetuate stereotypical beliefs" – WHO World Report on Ageing and Health

Global campaign to combat ageism 

The problem of ageism is increasingly gaining traction at a global level and combatting it is now seen by the World Health Organisation and other global institutions as being of critical importance. At the 69th World Health Assembly in May a resolution sponsored by 17 countries called for a global campaign to combat ageism. We hope that this ADA Global will help support the first steps to take a stand against this worldwide problem.

Why take a stand against ageism?

  • Ageism is all around us.

  • All older people are different but ageism assumes that growing older is the same experience for everyone.

  • We must question ageism and how older people are often stereotyped in a certain way because of their age.

  • We live in a world where older people’s rights are denied. This must change!

  • Let’s begin to appreciate our diversity throughout our whole lives including in later life.

  • We live in an ageing world. Let's not make it an ageist one!

Ageism campaign manuals

We are encouraging campaigners to hold consciousness-raising and role-play workshops as a way to explore ageism. 
Consciousness raising is a tool to unpack social perceptions and prejudices and allows for participants to draw on personal experiences with others.
Theatre is about stories and the collective act of sharing stories. We hope that by taking part in roleplay workshops, older men and women will be able to explore certain scenarios of ageism, but also have the chance to share and act out their own experiences.
We have guides on hosting consciousness-raising and role-play workshops, or please contact the campaigns team for more information.
What can you do for Age Demands Action Global on 1 October?

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